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Who We Are

Board of Directors

  • Shuna K. Hayward, Chairperson
    Shuna K. Hayward, Chairperson

    Shuna has been active in the youth development and after school community in Detroit since locating from California in 1998. Shuna currently works for Connect Detroit as the Vice President of Programs. She received her bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Child Development from Stanford University and earned her Master’s in Education from Harvard University. She has worked in other youth services spaces including the Indiana Youth Institute and the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis, Indiana; the Medical Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Youth Development Commission in Detroit. She also serves on the board of the Michigan Afterschool Association and Wellspring. She was recognized as one of Crain's Detroit 2018 Notable Women in Nonprofits. She and her husband have 4 children.

  • Ayo Thomas, Vice Chairperson
    Ayo Thomas, Vice Chairperson

    Ayo Thomas is an arts practitioner, administrator, and advocate. Ayo values agency within creative and cultural spaces and believes that diligence, encouragement, opportunity,  and vision are key to sustainable work. She recognizes that culture is a fundamental expression of people’s relationship with the environment and seeks to reinforce this consciousness in her work.  Ayo holds a Master of Arts in Arts and Cultural Management. ('18) from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (International Relations,  '11) from Fisk University. 

  • Jacob Walker, Treasurer
    Jacob Walker, Treasurer

    Jacob Walker joined DTE Energy in 2009 as a participant in their Advanced Degree Development program. He is currently serving
    as a Manager for the Center of Excellence focused on strategy and analytics for the Corporate Services organization which is
    responsible for DTE Energy’s procurement, warehousing, fleet and facilities operations. Jacob joined DTE Energy in 2009 as a
    participant in their Advanced Degree Development program. Prior to his current role, he has served in multiple capacities
    including decision support, gross margin, corporate finance, and financial forecasting and analysis. Prior to relocating to Michigan,
    Jacob lived in Georgia where he worked for ATT in multiple financial and analytical capacities.
    While in Michigan, Jacob has served his community in several ways including the BING Institute as a member of new government
    initiative, Real Life 101 a mentoring program focused on inner city black males, and STEP an internal program to DTE Energy
    focused on employment opportunities for underexposed youth. Currently he serves as a mentor with the BING Youth Institute, a
    mentor program for young black males. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve and be of service to Michigan and its citizens.
    Jacob is a graduate of Alabama State University earning a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and Kennesaw State University with
    a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.
    Jacob was born in Gary, Indiana and currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.

  • Deirdre Henry
    Deirdre Henry

    Deirdre Henry is the Assistant Treasurer for Treasury Operations at Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA).  GLWA provides nearly 40 percent of Michigan’s population with water and wastewater services to nearly 30 percent of the state.  Deirdre has also worked in finance and treasury positions at Chrysler Corporation, TD Auto Finance, and Great Expression Dental Centers. She has her MBA from Indiana University and undergraduate education from North Carolina A&T State University. Deirdre is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Heritage Works is her first board appointment.

  • Venus Randle
    Venus Randle

    Venus Randle is a senior manager in Supply Chain at DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE), a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Randle is past Chair of the North Oakland YMCA Board of Directors. She served on the Penn State University Paul Robeson Cultural Center Alumni Advisory Board. She is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.

  • Matthew Miller
    Matthew Miller

       Matthew is a proud alumni of Fisk University (Class of 2012) with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi (Alpha Delta Chapter Spring 2011). Matthew has mentored young men and women through reading programs and school programs such as Winning Futures. He has received extensive training in the following areas: Policing in an Urban Environment, Security Operations, and Emergency Management.

       Also as CEO of Miller Security Group, Matthew leads Miller Security Group in developing new ideas to address the ever-changing security needs for Businesses, Municipalities, and Government agencies. He manages the day-to-day operations of Miller Security Group which includes office administrative duties, the review and oversight of supervisory command staff, security guards, ongoing security assignments, and the hiring and training of our security guards.

  • Rhonda Greene

Staff

  • Joseph Gause, Program Operations Coordinator
  • Camille Brewer, Teaching Artist
    Camille Brewer, Teaching Artist

    Camille Ann Brewer is a visual artist based in Detroit, Michigan.  Ms. Brewer studied textile design and construction at the California College of Arts and the University of Michigan, where she earned her BFA and MFA respectively.  Ms. Brewer completed a Master in Library and Information Science at Valdosta State University in 2010.  Most recently, Ms. Brewer served as the inaugural curator of contemporary art at the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum.  Prior to her work at the Textile Museum, Ms. Brewer served as the executive director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, a Chicago-based membership association of libraries, universities, and other archival institutions, based at the University of Chicago.  

  • Idy Ciss, Teaching Artist
    Idy Ciss, Teaching Artist

    Idy Ciss comes to us from Senegal. He credits his grandparents with his natural dance ability. From the time he was five years old, the people from his village loved to watch him dance. He credits the love and support of his family and neighbors as the catalyst which led him to the field of professional dance. Idy is also a teacher and singer of traditional African songs. His professional debut was with Les Ballets Africans Kolaam Serere. Formerly a full-time member of Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, Idy now consults for the company and teaches at Northwestern University, Columbia College, and Old Town School of Folk Music.

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